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A computer forensics expert testified in a Richmond courtroom today about evidence found on computers belonging to a former Pinole man accused of murdering his girlfriend in 1999. Wilson Van Ault, a retired special agent for the California Department of Justice, was assigned to examine evidence from computers belonging to Raymond Edward Wong, who is charged with murder for the 1999 killing of his pregnant live-in girlfriend and infant son’s mother, Alice Sin, 21. Wong, 41, is also charged with the special circumstance allegation that he killed Sin for financial gain. Police said during their initial investigation that Wong was the apparent beneficiary of a $2 million life insurance policy in Sin’s name.
Police say that in late November 1999, Wong drove the 21-year-old to Nevada where he shot her multiple times before dumping her body in the desert. He called police on Nov. 22, 1999, to report that Sin, a Diablo Valley College student, had gone missing from their shared Pinole home the day before. Though police quickly identified Wong as a person of interest in the case, they were unable to link him to the murder until December 2011, when he was caught trying to re-enter the country at San Francisco International Airport using a fake passport. Van Ault testified during Wong’s ongoing preliminary hearing today that he examined evidence from 10 different computers and more than 20 hard drives belonging to the defendant. Among the evidence found was a fragment of an email containing the phrase ‘I would have killed her a long time ago — the only thing that stood in the way was you,’ Van Ault testified. That message was sent to an email address registered to Jessica Tang, he said. Authorities say she and Wong were romantically involved at the time of Sin’s murder and were married a short time after the killing.
In what appeared to be another piece of an online chat found on one of Wong’s computer hard drives, someone allegedly tried to confirm an alibi with another person, according to Van Ault. The online chatter allegedly went over the events of a specific day, telling the recipient that they would say they had gone to the Berkeley Marina and then the San Jose flea market. The message writer also wrote to remind the person that they had taken a certain route to those locations — ‘otherwise they’ll check the bridge tapes’,” Van Ault testified. “In my mind, he was talking to someone about establishing an alibi,” he said. Van Ault said his examination of the computer evidence indicated that Wong had sent an email to several Bay Area news organizations in 2000 claiming to be from a white supremacist group that hinted the group was involved in Sin’s killing. The email was filled with anti-Asian slurs and claimed responsibility for Sin’s murder. That email came from a cyber café in Calgary, Canada that authorities said Wong was known to frequent after moving there following Sin’s disappearance.
A search of one of Wong’s computers showed that someone had visited a website containing descriptions of different white supremacist organizations. Van Ault said he also found child pornography images stored on several of Wong’s computers. Those files were later used in a federal case against Wong on child pornography charges, he said. Matthew Carmichael, the current chief of police at the University of California, Davis, and a former Pinole police sergeant, said that during his investigation into Sin’s disappearance in 1999, he questioned several of the woman’s friends and classmates. One friend said that Alice had confided she was four months pregnant but that Wong did not want her to keep the baby, Carmichael testified.
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